The fifth-ranked University of Arkansas women’s golf team punched their ticket to the NCAA Championship by way of a program-best tie for third place at the 2013 NCAA East Regional in Auburn, Ala., May 9-11. The Razorbacks posted an 864 en route to advancing. Arkansas is one of seven Southeastern Conference teams to advance. The entire field includes: Alabama, Tulane, Oklahoma State, Texas, Northwestern, UCLA and Auburn from the East Regional; Duke, Oklahoma, Mississippi State, Florida, Arizona State, UC Davis, Wisconsin and Michigan State from the Central Regional and Southern California, Purdue, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Stanford, Arizona, Oregon and San Jose State from the West Regional.
RAZORBACKS FINISHING WELL
This season, Arkansas has played in 10 events finishing in the top five nine of them. Arkansas has seven finishes in top three spots including a win at the LSU Golf Classic March 24. It was the first team title since the 2010 season. Arkansas finished tied for seventh in its ninth event of the year (SEC Championship) but shot one of the lowest rounds of the tournament on the final day.
Arkansas has 35 top five team finishes under head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor including a program-best 11 top five finishes in 13 events in the 2010-11 season. That season, the Razorbacks posted a program-best tie for fifth at the NCAA Championships.
ARAKNSAS' INDIVIDUAL WINNERS
Arkansas has had two players earn three individual titles this year. Junior Emily Tubert won the Lady Puerto Rico Intercollegiate and the LSU Tiger Golf Classic while freshman Gabriela Lopez won the Westbrook Invitational.
ARKANSAS AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
This year’s advancement to the NCAA Championship is the sixth team appearance in program history. Arkansas is making its third consecutive appearance and its fourth under head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor. Estes-Taylor was also with the team for two other appearances as an assistant coach.
INDIVIDUALS AT NCAA Championship
This is the third NCAA Championship appearance for senior Victoria Vela and juniors Emily Tubert and Emma Lavy. Tubert tied for 19th in 2001 posting the best finish for a Razorback freshman at the NCAA Championship. Former Razorback Stacy Lewis won the individual title in 2007 and former Razorback Kelli Shean posted a runner-up finish in 2011.
ABOUT THE EVENT
Three regional competitions were held May 9-11. Of the 378 regional participants, 126 advanced to the finals. Eight teams and two individuals not on a selected team advanced from each regional. All participants will compete throughout the entire 72 holes of championship stroke-play competition. In the team competition, the low four scores for each team will count in each day’s total score.
ARKANSAS IN THE RANKINGS
The Razorbacks enter the NCAA Championship at No. 5 in this week’s Golfstat.com rankings. Arkansas checks in at No. 5 in the Golfweek.com rankings paced by junior Emily Tubert who is ranked No. 27 overall in the country. Gabriela Lopez is ranked No. 36 followed by Emma Lavy at No. 59, Victoria Vela at No. 83 and Regina Plasencia at No. 154 this week. The Razorbacks are No. 6 in the latest GolfWorld/WGCA Coaches Poll (April 18, 2013). Arkansas started the year ranked No. 30, and moved up to No. 13 by the end of the fall season. The Razorbacks began February ranked No. 7 and have continued to improve this spring.
RAZORBACK NCAA REGIONAL RECORDS
Arkansas is making the program’s sixth NCAA Championship appearance and their third consecutive appearance in 2013. The program’s best finish is a tie for fifth place in 201 and it is one of three top 10 finishes for Arkansas. The Razorbacks were eighth in 2008 and 10th in 2006. Arkansas has had two individuals place inside the top 10 four times. Stacy Lewis won the individual title in 2007 as a junior. She tied for eighth as a senior in 2008 and tied for ninth as a sophomore in 2006. Kelli Shean was second her senior season in 2011.